Learning Curves

Free Learning Curves by Elyse Mady

Book: Learning Curves by Elyse Mady Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elyse Mady
Tags: Romance, Contemporary
tights.” Leanne laughed. “I was invited to see a student production of modern dance at the university. Someone I know is choreographing it,” she said, feeling a twinge of guilt at her attempts to stretch the truth. But it was a simple white lie. The alternative was explaining to her father that the choreographer was actually a one-night stand she’d picked up on a lark at the local strip club. There were some things her dad was simply better off not knowing. Clearing her throat, she continued, “So I have two tickets. Would you like to come?”
    “Why not ask your mother?”
    “She can’t. Marjorie’s home party is the same night.”
    “Oh, I see. But are you sure you can’t find someone else you’d rather go with?”
    Suddenly, Leanne found herself overwhelmed by a desire to spend some time with her father. More than anyone else in the world, he understood her insatiable curiosity and drive for learning. A mechanical engineer by training, he’d always encouraged her to develop her mind. When she was a child, he’d spent hours with her, touring museums and art galleries, driving her to and from the library, always bringing back a new book whenever he’d had to travel for work.
    “No, Dad. I’d like to spend time with you. We don’t see each other as much now that I’m in my own place.” They lived only half an hour apart and saw each other regularly but with her mother’s inhibiting, albeit loving, presence, they rarely got to connect. “If you wanted, we could go out to dinner afterward. There’s a new Thai place on Cumberland. Julia says the food’s great.”
    Pleasure lifted her father’s voice. “In that case, how can I say no?”
    Making arrangements to meet outside the theater just before the curtain, they spoke briefly for a few more minutes before Leanne said goodbye, a smile on her face and a spring in her dry-footed step. It might have been a miserable day, but things were looking up. She wouldn’t bother Brandon for his complimentary tickets. They’d both rest easier if they simply went back to pretending that Saturday night never happened. She’d order two tickets online; then she could tackle another few essays before she finished reading the last sixty pages of the new academic journal she’d started on the weekend.
    Sold out .
    The 8:00 p.m. performance for Wednesday, November 12th, at the Simon Baker Center for the Performing Arts was sold out.
    Damn. Double damn.
    She knew her father wouldn’t mind missing out on the performance. He’d be happy if they just went out for dinner and talked. But heaven help her if her mother got wind of the change. She’d instantly jump to the conclusion that the plans Leanne claimed prevented her from attending the makeup party had been entirely fictitious. And all hell would break loose.
    Notwithstanding the fact that she’d be entirely correct, Leanne would rather suffer through a root canal without anesthetic than be subjected to the dubious combined charms of her mother and Marjorie Giles, cheddar and crab dip or no.
    Think. Think. Think.
    After fifteen minutes of gnawing her thumbnail, only one viable solution presented itself. And it made her heart sink in a swift, rapid descent that ended only when the organ was somewhere level with her ankles.
    Four drafts of a three-line email later, Leanne finally felt satisfied her message struck the right tone between casual disinterest and pressing need. She scanned it one last time.
    Brandon—Hi. If it’s not too late, I’m hoping you’ve still got those tickets for Wednesday’s performance. If the offer stands, you can leave them in my box in the English department. Tatum Hall, J102.
    PS—and if not, I understand completely. Really.
    Was the postscript too much? Would he read into it more than she intended? She debated another moment. No, it was good enough. Clicking the send icon before she could change her mind, she sent the brief message winging through cyberspace before

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