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       The Diary of Lexi Ashford, Part One, p.1

           Jessica Sorensen
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The Diary of Lexi Ashford, Part One

  The Diary of Lexi Ashford

  Jessica Sorensen

  All rights reserved.

  Copyright © 2015 by Jessica Sorensen

  This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.

  No part of this book can be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without the permission in writing from author. The only exception is by a reviewer who may quote short excerpts in a review.

  Any trademarks, service marks, product names or names featured are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if we use one of these terms.

  For information: jessicasorensen.com

  Cover Design by The Cover Lure

  The Diary of Lexi Ashford

  (Lexi Ashford: Part One)

  By Jessica Sorensen

  Table of Contents:

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  About the Author

  Chapter 1

  I’ve been called a walking disaster. Chaos just seems to happen around me. When I was younger, I believed I was jinxed, that cosmic forces were against me. I still wonder if fate despises me because even days that start out perfect end up a catastrophe.

  But I’m convinced today is going to be a great day.

  The first great day potential: I wake up ten minutes early, which never, ever happens. Normally, I’m one of those people who smack the snooze button at least ten times before dragging their cranky ass out of bed.

  After I nearly skip out of bed, I hop into the shower, and for once, the water doesn’t run cold in the first three to four minutes. Warm shower, hell yes! I haven’t seen one of those since I moved into this apartment almost a year ago.

  I’m also having a fantastic hair day. My usually frizzy, I-just-stuck-my-finger-in-an-electrical-socket, brown curls lay perfectly tamed down my back. I finally get that smoky eye thing down after trying for years and always ending up looking like a bug-eyed raccoon beanie baby. I’m rocking my favorite outfit: a black turtleneck and plaid skirt, topped off with black tights and matching platforms.

  Right as I exit my apartment to head off to work, I receive a text from Max, a guy I’ve been obsessed with ever since I started working for Dana and Morella’s Event Planning just a little over a year ago.

  We’ve spent the last couple of weeks making out after work. Our secret, steamy lip-lock sessions first started when he was walking me to my car.

  In classic, klutzy Lexi style, I got my heel wedged in the crack of the concrete and tripped. Thankfully, Max caught me in his arms, which was a very fine moment for me since I’d been fantasizing about being pressed to his chest for almost a year. Of course, in my fantasy, I didn’t sniff his chest and moan.

  “Um, Lexi …” He sounded extremely uncomfortable as his arms tensed around me. “Did you just smell me?"

  “Yeah … kind of.” What? I couldn’t help it. He smelled so amazingly good, like cologne and aftershave and, oddly enough, a bit like cinnamon rolls.

  I expected him to shove me down and run. It wouldn’t be the first time a guy did that to me.

  Instead, he chuckled. “At least tell me I smell nice.”

  “You do … like cologne and cinnamon rolls.” I gazed up at him and found he was gazing down at me with so much intensity in his eyes my breath caught in my throat.

  His lips parted, and I held my breath as I eagerly waited for whatever wonderful words were about to leave his lips. Because, with how intensely he was looking at me, I knew he was about to say something deliciously sexy.

  “Well, I did eat a cinnamon roll for breakfast,” he said huskily.

  Umm … Okay, so that wasn’t what I was expecting. Delicious, yes. Sexy, not unless I have a baked goods fetish. Still, I decided to seize the opportunity of being in his arms, stood on my tiptoes, and sealed my lips to his.

  Afterward, we didn’t say much, just waved good-bye, hopped in our cars, and drove our separate ways. The next day, he walked me to my car, and we ended up kissing again. It’s been going on for two weeks now.

  During the day, he’s merely my colleague, but by night, he’s my super sexy make-out buddy. Hell yeah! I’ve always wanted one of those. But deep down, I wanted more for Max than our little, sexy carport rendezvous. I wanted a date to go along with it.

  So, at last night’s wedding party we were overseeing, I grew some lady balls—thanks to the two glasses of wine I drank—and gave him my number. I was so cool and suave about it, too. I was smiling and didn’t even spill wine on my dress, which is always a fantastic bonus.

  “Hey, do you want my number, just in case you need to call me for anything?”

  His lips tugged into that sexy, dimple grin. “Sure. I’ve been meaning to get it, anyway.”

  I rattled off my number, and he entered it in his phone. Then he messaged me so I’d have his number on hand.

  “I have to get back to work. I’ll catch up with you after the party, okay?” he said, which was code for let’s meet up at our cars and grind up all over each other.

  Honestly, I didn’t really expect Max to get ahold of me so soon. I thought I’d be the one who got the ball rolling. But, holy crap, the text is from him.

  Max: Hey! Great job last night. The party was kick ass. And afterward wasn’t too bad, either. ;) Maybe we could meet up this weekend and go over the plans for next month’s wedding. My treat.

  I get so excited I do my infamous heck-to-the-yeah dance, which basically is a mixture between a cracked out tap dancer and an uncoordinated stripper. But who cares? Max asked me out on a date!

  Even when my grumpy, nude-yoga teaching, fifty-something next door neighbor, Miss Finikey, notices me arm flailing and hip grinding in the hallway, my mood isn’t dampened.

  “Don’t look at me like that,” I say with a huge-ass smile on my face. “Max asked me out. I have an excuse to act like a lunatic.”

  She rolls her eyes as she scoops up her newspaper from off her front porch. “Oh, yippee. Cinnamon roll guy asked you out. Let me go grab my kazoo and party hat so we can celebrate this life changing occasion.”

  I don’t bother pointing out that she’s practically in her birthday suit, wearing nothing but a sheet wrapped around her.

  “I’ve wanted to go on a date with him forever, Miss F. You know that.”

  “Yes, my dear. Unfortunately, I do know way too much about your boring obsession with a man who’s about as exciting as watching Mr. Welford do squats naked every morning. But it doesn’t mean I want to. You just insist on yammering my ear off all the damn time.”

  “He isn’t that boring. And how do you know Mr. Welford does squats naked?”

  She tucks the newspaper under her arm. “It’s not my fault he leaves his curtains cracked.”

  “But you don’t have to peek through the curtains,” I point out with my hands on my hips. “And if you’re choosing to look, it can’t be that boring watching him.”

  “Nothing is more boring than watching a sixty-year-old man clench his hairy ass. But”—she lifts her shoulder, shrugging—“I’ve got nothing better to do. Besides, he has some pretty decent moves for an old man. I even hired him to strip at one of my friends’ birthday parties.”

; I cringe at the mental image. “Thanks. Now I’ll never be able to look at Mr. Welford the same again.”

  She shrugs me off, but then her brows suddenly knit as she notes my outfit. “You look nice. What the hell happened? Usually, you look like a hot mess.”

  My smile is as shimmery as a rainbow. Not even Miss F’s crankiness, or the fact that I can kind of see through the sheet she’s wearing, can ruin my awesome morning.

  “I woke up early.” I do a little twirl and curtsy. “It’s amazing what a little extra time can do.”

  She snorts a condescending laugh as she backs up toward her apartment door. “You didn’t wake up early. I heard your alarm go off this morning. These stupid walls are paper-thin. I’m getting so damn sick and tired of hearing everyone’s drama. It’s giving me migraines.”

  And vice versa. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard what she refers to as her gentlemen acquaintances making very un-gentlemen-like noises.

  “Um, yes, I did. I just didn’t hit the snooze button a thousand times.” I slip the handle of my bag over my shoulder and turn to leave for work. “See ya later, Miss F. And tell your friend from last night that he has some really impressive endurance for his age.”

  “There was a power outage in the building last night,” she calls out as I reach for the exit door. “I’m guessing your clock probably reset. It’s already after ten.”

  My eyes snap wide as I whip out my phone and check the time. Shit. I was so caught up in my good morning I hadn’t paid attention to the time since I woke up. Dammit! No wonder I had such an easy time waking up. I’m over an hour late!

  I bolt out the door, sending my boss a text that I’m going to be late. The second I step foot outside, I immediately get soaked by the rain. I curse the heavens as I run like a fleeing unicorn and dive inside my car, soaking wet. So much for my great hair day.

  I shudder at my reflection in the mirror. I look like a wet, crazed-out cat, but I don’t have time to go back inside and change. I’m already on thin ice at work over my issue with being what I like to call fashionably tardy, although my boss doesn’t agree with my sparkling terminology.

  “You’re a great assistant,” she told me last week, “but you’re also unreliable. If you don’t start being more punctual, I’m afraid I’m going to have to let you go and give the job to someone who will appreciate the opportunity more.”

  I love my job, so of course I assured her I’d never be late again, even though I knew I was being a huge, fat liar-liar, pants on fire, since half the damn time I’m late because of insane, out-of-my-hands events like what happened today. I haven’t been late since we had the talk, though, except for now.

  Maybe my boss was right. Maybe I don’t appreciate the job.

  “No, I do,” I tell myself. “I’ll just tell her about the power outage, that it wasn’t my fault.”

  She’ll understand.

  Relief washes over me, and I quickly pull the car door shut. I’ve had the same car since I turned sixteen, and even then, it was a junker. I have to slam the door three times and flip the lock twice before the door stays closed. Honestly, I love all its quirks. It gives it character. Plus, we’ve been through a lot, and it has never let me down.

  But when I shove the keys into the ignition and pump the gas pedal five times before starting up the engine, all it does is make a noise like a screeching banshee.

  “No, please don’t do this to me today, baby. Come on,” I plead as I try to restart the engine.

  After five failed attempts, I give up, snatch my umbrella from the backseat, and run to the bus stop a few blocks down, telling myself that I’ll get my morning back on track. I just need to make it to work.

  But my perfect morning rapidly goes down the rain gutter.

  First, my umbrella gets ripped from my hand as I’m opening it. I forgot my wallet, so I have to dig my last two dollars in change out of the bottom of my purse to pay the bus fare. The large man sitting beside me on the bus sneezes in my face, and I gag so hard I almost vomit. And he smells so overwhelmingly like peanut butter that I swear he’s showered in it. My suspicions are confirmed when he takes out his phone, and I catch a glimpse of his screensaver—a photo of him shaking his naked butt while dancing in a large vat of peanut butter in front of a cheering crowd. Insert second time I almost vomit this morning.

  “Pretty cool, right?” he asks when he notices me staring at the photo of him.

  “Um … Yeah … Sure …” My palms start to sweat as a beat of silence goes by. I feel this awkward need to break it, a lifelong personality trait of mine that can make my life a living hell sometimes and puts me in a ton of very uncomfortable, strange situations. “Who knew peanut butter would slide off skin like that? It’s so thick I thought it’d clump more.” Oh. My. God. Lexi. Just stop talking. Right now. “Was it the chunky or crunchy kind?” Face palm.

  “I think chunky.” He stares at me like I’m the crazy person.

  “Oh … That makes sense.” No. None of this makes sense. Like, why you’re still talking! “Do you do it a lot?”

  “Every Friday night at Danny’s Bar.” A grin spreads across his face. “You know, if you’re interested, there’s a partners’ night on Saturdays.”

  “Ummm …” Just tell him no. “Sure …”

  He asks me for my number, but thankfully, I manage to get my head out of my ass and rattle off a fake number, which ends up being the best thing that happens to me for the rest of the day.

  Chapter 2

  The second I make it to work, my boss calls me into her office, and things go from bad to waking-up-in-a-ditch-naked-with-no-idea-what-happened worse.

  “I just don’t think this is working, Lexi,” my boss says to me from across her desk. “You’ve been late so many times I’ve lost count.”

  “I can do better.” I’m trying not to cry, but my eyes start to burn. “I just had one of those crazy mornings where everything that could go wrong did.”

  “There’s only so many times that excuse can work,” she says. “I’m sorry, but I have to let you go.”

  Do not cry and make this more awkward.

  I’m terrified by the thought of searching for a job again. After graduating three years ago with a bachelor’s degree in General Studies and having no clue what I wanted to do with it, I floated through random jobs; waitressing, a secretary for a law firm, and my least favorite, selling clown supplies (who knew people that made a job out of being funny could be so intense about what kind of material fake noses are made of).

  While I never planned to be a party planner’s assistant forever, I enjoyed what I did, the hours were flexible, and the pay was decent for what I’m used to.

  “Thanks for the opportunity,” I squeak as I push up from the chair, cursing myself for messing up and losing yet another job.

  She offers me a pity smile. “I wish this would’ve worked out. You’re great at your job and have such amazing, creative ideas, but you’re just too unreliable.”

  I’m not sure what to say, so I hurry out of her office before I start bawling. I say a quick good-bye to the few people in the office I’m kind of close with then head to my desk to pack up my stuff, saving my good-bye to Max for last.

  But, as I’m piling my framed photos and coffee mug into a box, he approaches my desk with a cautious look on his face.

  “I just heard the news. I’m so sorry, Lexi.” He offers me a sympathetic smile. “It’s not going to be the same around here without you.”

  “Yeah, I’m going to miss working with everyone.” Especially you, you ridiculously delicious piece of man candy. “Maybe we could still grab a bite to eat this weekend and hang out.” I smile at him, hoping he’ll get that by “grab a bite to eat and hang out,” I mean go out on a date and make-out at my apartment.

  His dimpled, panty-dropping grin falters as he scratches the back of his neck. “I already made plans with Julia. She’s Dana’s new assistant, and I need to get her caught up on next week’s weddin

  “Oh.” I press my lips together. “Maybe another time?”

  He rakes his fingers through his hair. “Look, Lexi, I think you’re cool and everything, but when I asked you out, I wasn’t really asking you out. I just wanted some ideas for the wedding. You’re creative, and I thought maybe, if I had your help, I could impress Dana enough to get a promotion.”

  Oh. My. Hell.

  “You think I’m cool? Seriously? That’s all you have to say?” If I had a penny for every time I’ve been told that, my jobless problem wouldn’t be a problem. “After making out with me in the garage for two straight weeks?”

  “I thought we were having fun. I thought you understood that.” He pats my arm. “Look, I have some errands to run. Take care, okay?” With that, he turns on his heels and rushes away like I’m a rabid dog about to bite him. I kind of wish I was so I could have a legitimate excuse to run up and rip him apart.

  Instead, I watch him walk away until he stops by Julia’s desk and starts flirting with her.

  I look away, vowing to myself no more hooking up with superficial hot guys. From now on, I’m only going to date average looking weirdoes.

  Since I don’t have any more change to pay bus fare, I have to walk the twenty-something blocks back to my apartment. Fortunately, it’s stopped raining, but the puddles covering the ground splash up and soak my tights every time I take a step.

  I’m bouncing up and down on my toes, trying to warm up as I wait for a streetlight to change, when a boy around eight years old suddenly runs up to me with a sparkling neon pink marker in his hand and starts scribbling on my tights.

  “Hey, back off, little dude,” I warn as I step back out of his reach.

  “No way. I can’t. I’m a street artist, and you’re my muse.” He laughs wickedly and rushes at me again, waving the marker tauntingly.

  I whirl around, hugging my box as I skitter out of the way, but I roll my ankle and fall down. I drop the box to brace the fall with my hands. The concrete scrapes my palms and rips the knees of my tights.

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