The sun was just coming over the waters of Casco Bay, the light filling the sky with its glowing blaze, as Amelia Thermopolis entered the city limits. She'd been driving all night, but in just a few more minutes she would reach her destination and a welcome rest.
The midnight escape from New York City to Portland, Maine was as emotionally taxing as it was physically.
Her parents on Long Island or her grandfather in Soho, they would all have welcomed her into their homes in the dead of night.
Mia didn't want to see her family; and though her best friend Fiona would have welcomed her, Mia found herself in the car, on I-95, heading north.
Parker MacPherson, Mac to his friends, was more than Mia's best friend, second only to his own cousin Fiona.
Mac lived on the west end of Portland's peninsula in a spacious three story house that felt like a second home, a refuge, to Mia.
It was the peace that spurred her flight away from the city. Away from Robert. Robert Stein was a terrible jewelry designer and a worse human being, but he was an amazing businessman. Though he was an awful jeweler he could find gems thought to be lost; for this he was paid handsomely by various employers.
One of these employers was her own father. Robert imported various gems for the Thermopolis Jewelry Company and at times accompanied Mia on business dinners and gallery openings with potential customers that intended on importing gems. Mia wasn't sure what to make of him but apparently Robert knew what to do with her.
As she let herself in to Mac's house she recalled vividly Robert's words of earlier this evening.
"Will you marry me, Amy?"
Mia shuddered, she despised the nickname Amy. How could he ask her about marriage? They weren't dating, they had never dated! They had a business relationship only; their dinners together were meetings with prospective buyers or to secure commissions on a piece of jewelry. How had he gotten the idea for marriage?
Mia felt her skin crawl. Robert was not her type at all; in fact she wasn't sure whether or not he had ties to the New York Mafia.
Leaving her overnight bag in the living room Mia made her way to the kitchen, the clock above the stove read seven in the morning. She helped herself to some coffee, thankful the pot was on an automatic timer.
Mia knew from experience that Mac was about done with his shower and it shouldn't be much longer before he stumbled down the stairs, still half asleep, in search of some caffeine and breakfast on his way out the door.
Mia wished fervently that it was still the weekend and Mac didn't have work. She needed to spend some time with him alone; she felt so weird now. It was an odd feeling having a man you barely know propose marriage.
This early on a Monday morning; however, Mac wouldn't be able to tell her where he kept the sugar these days, let alone advise her on a more complex problem such as this one. Mac was not a morning person.
Mia shut the cabinet door and abandoned her quest for sweetener. She would drink it black. She just hoped that Mac was awake enough for one of his special hugs, she needed one right now. She almost felt soiled if she thought too much about Robert Stein asking her to marry him.
He wasn't surprised to find Mia in his kitchen, that wasn't an unusual occurrence. Finding her staring blankly out the window with a frown between her brows as she sipped black coffee wasn't that disturbing either. It's just that he didn't expect to find her there.
What thoughts caused her to look so fierce, he wondered? His fuzzy mind couldn't fathom what she was doing in his house just mere hours after a gallery showing. He knew from experience that the drive from her home to his took several hours. She would have to miss the important time after the show that was used to obtain commissions and network.
He saw a delicate shiver crawl over her otherwise still form and wondered at it. "Mia?"
She turned when the gruff Scottish brogue pierced her thoughts. Mia couldn't help the goofy grin that spread across her face. His eyes were still clouded from sleep, his movements sluggish, and the only word that would describe his countenance was befuddled. She imagined that if he allowed his hair to grow back in it would be a rat's nest standing on end, just like a child's. He even had a sheet mark on his cheek!
Mia could easily recall, several years ago, living in Mac's guest room in Los Angeles as she attended school. At the time Mac had been a Captain on the LA County Fire Department. Mia's family convinced him to allow her to share his home rather than live alone on campus. They were a traditional family and thought it better that their only daughter stay with a friend of the family that could watch over her, protect her.