Second Chance(3)

By: Natalie Ann

He knew that had been a big issue before…that he’d focused on work more than Kendra. That sometimes when they were in the same room together she’d say, “Nick, you’re not paying attention to me.”

She knew he had a lot on his plate. She was the one who was always saying, “Let me do that for you.” Then she’d give him more work to do in its place. They never spent time together alone. They never relaxed, no matter how many times he wanted to do it. Sometimes she pushed him more than he pushed himself, and he realized now it wasn’t healthy. Not for their relationship and not for him as person.

So he needed to leave Richmond to put it behind him for now. He’d driven to St. Louis and met up with several developers there. They talked about what everyone was working on and he stayed in a hotel for five days, pushing to see if they shared the same vision he had.

His next stop was Salt Lake City, where he did the same thing—rode his staff hard, kept his mind off his personal life, and got down to business.

He talked to his mother, father, and sister just about every day. He knew the business was running as smoothly as normal. Anything his father couldn’t handle, he passed along to Nick or other senior management, but it wasn’t much. He had a good team and they ran everything well without him.

His father, John, had told him Kendra had indeed returned to work this week, but there were rumors she was looking for another job. Nick left instructions with his father to help her in any way he could.

Kendra had been hired years ago as his executive assistant. She was perfect for him. She had the uncanny skill of knowing what he needed and when, without ever having to be told.

Years ago, all those late nights and business trips, being in close proximity of each other, led to something more. Then before he knew it, they were engaged.

He’d like to think he finally realized the error of his ways before making it official, but that didn’t stop the pain and the hurt he’d caused her, and himself.

With visits to St. Louis and Salt Lake City behind him, he was unsure of his next move. He wasn’t ready to go back to Richmond, but didn’t have it in him to stop at his last branch in Atlanta.

With as much work as he’d been doing, he was burned out. He needed to clear his head. There was only one place to do that, and one person who would snap him out of it, so he headed north to Lake Placid. To his grandmother.


After driving through the night Nick was completely exhausted, but he hadn’t wanted to stop. Part of him said to keep pushing and just get there. Get to the woman who always put him in his place when he was wrong, and praised him when he was right.

To the woman who would know the right thing to say to him to get him out of the hole he’d just dug.

His parents were too close to everything that had happened in the last year. His grandmother would be more of a neutral party. She would be able to see both sides of the story and tell him where he went wrong and how to fix it. How to fix his life.

Maybe he just wanted to hand it all over to someone else for once so he didn’t mess up again. Or maybe he wanted to be that teenager again with little to no responsibilities.

He should have listened to his parents years ago when they cautioned him about building his company too big and too fast and never giving himself a chance to live. A chance to enjoy life.

His grandmother was the epitome of take no bull, no holds barred when it came to her grandchildren. Her ways weren’t always conventional, but she knew what was best for those around her.

It was exactly the attitude he needed right now. Someone else to call the shots so he could put it behind him.

Pulling in front of the log cabin on Lake Placid, Nick looked around at the beauty surrounding him and just paused. Took a moment to reflect and look at how peaceful everything seemed.

He’d been here at least once a year his entire life. Summers were spent here when he was a child, weeks at a time, if not a month. Just him and Rene on the lake, running wild.

Then when he got older, his visits weren’t as long, but they were more frequent. A week in the winter for skiing, a week in the summer on the lake, a week in the fall admiring the scenery.

Lake Placid might be small compared to Richmond, but it made up for it in serenity, peace, and quiet.

Nick took a deep breath, got out of his car, and walked toward the front porch. The door opened before he could even knock and there she stood. The love of his life. Or one of them. His mother was right up there with his grandmother. But no one held a candle to his grandmother.

No one—except possibly another woman…the one that disappeared twelve years ago and hadn’t been heard from or seen since.