Brenda and Eddie had had it already by the summer of 2005 The couple sat in the mediators office in Highland Park signing the papers that finalized their divorce. Although both were sad, they knew it was the right thing to do. Brenda was 26 and Eddie was a year older plenty of time to meet someone new and move on with their lives, although thats not what they were thinking of as they officially ended their 10 year relationship. Eddie met Brenda when her dad was transferred to the Detroit area after Ford closed one of their plants in North Carolina. Brenda came into Eddies school and shared a homeroom where she immediately caught his eye. Sitting in the back of the room, he saw this new tall brunette enter the room she was attractive, but not stunning, yet something about her was special. Following classes that day, Brenda was fumbling with her locker as Eddie came up to assist. It was love at first sight the couple was inseparable through high school and both went on to attend the University of Michigan. Eddie got a single and Brenda basically lived with him for the three following years and the two years following as he finished his engineering degree while Brenda started work in the marketing department at Ford. Families in Michigan were loyal to their brands, as generations went to work for Ford, GM or Chrysler but would never consider working for another brand until recent slowdowns in the auto industry forced people to jump brands to keep food on the table. Marriage was smooth until the couple grew distant due to pressures as the auto market slowed, causing Brenda to lose her job. Eddie thought that this might be a good time to have children he was from a big family, with four boys and two girls. Brenda suddenly had no interest in kids and announced that she had decided that she never wanted children a deal killer for Ed. The marriage went downhill from there, until they sat in this third floor office and euthanized their bond. Love and caring had been replaced with bitterness and anger on both sides. It was tough for both of them. EDDIE: It was early November when Eddie got a call from a college buddy. Steve had moved out to the west coast to design cars for Honda where he met his current partner, Mike. Steves boss wanted to meet Eddie after Steve showed him some design work that Eddie had done over the past few years. The Honda Design Center was expanding and the bosses at Honda admired the work that was shown to them. Hondas willing to pay for your trip, bud, Steve started. You need to get away for a while, and who knows it could be the job of a lifetime. You can hang out with me and Mike we just got a new place in Venice Beach, right near the beach. Youll love it. Eddie and Steve met in college when the two shared a suite as freshman. Their bond was so strong that Steve approached Eddie first when he came out of the closet. Michigan was a pretty conservative place, and announcing your sexuality to the world was not easy. The arrangements were made for Thanksgiving week. Eddie had never been out west, so this was a real adventure for him. Steve and Mike met Eddie at LAX at noon on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The contrast was interesting. While Steve was tall and thin with a swimmers lean body, Mike was broad shouldered, looking as if he had just come from the gym. They threw Eddies bag in the back of their new SUV and headed for Venice. After a quick lunch on their deck that overlooked the Pacific, the couple gave Eddie a tour of Venice and the surrounding area. Having heard about Steves friend from Michigan, Mikes mom invited Eddie to spend Thanksgiving with the family. BRENDA: Although they had trouble, Brenda was sad that things ended with Eddie this way. Deep down she still loved him, but the ugly side came out of the relationship when we started to discuss kids and this was something they couldnt get past. Although shed never been with another man, other than just fooling around in middle school, she knew that Eddie was good looking. The stares that he got from women confirmed that her inner feelings were not just her own. Here she sat, alone on a Saturday afternoon just a month after the divorce when her friend Julie called to invite Brenda out to a local bar with some friends. Dont worry, Bren, theyre not all married, she offered to assure her that she wouldnt be the only one without a date. Although she wasnt really ready to date, she jumped at the offer to go out with some friends. The group went to Charlies, a popular bar in town where they spent the night having good food, better drinks with great company. Half way through the meal, Brenda excused myself to go to the ladies room and was surprised to see one of the single guys waiting outside the bathroom when I finished. Hi, she started, youre not stalking me, she continued with a big smile. No, Im not. My names Justin Taylor. I am a friend of Julies friend Lisa. Nice to meet you, he continued as he introduced himself. For the record, if you must know, us guys have to certain things to do too, he said motioning towards the mens room. Brenda decided to wait for him to finish so they could walk back to the table together. We walked back to a group of ooos and ahhs, as if something had happened between us. That was amazing, Justin said as Brenda turned red. Three or four beers later, Justin got up and excused himself, walking toward the mens room. About two minutes later, Brenda took the phone from her purse and faked a text message as she walked away, excusing herself from the group. She waited outside of the bathroom until Justin emerged. Hi again, he started, as Brenda leaned in to kiss him on the mouth. She had to break the ice. The first time kissing another man in 16 years his lips were thinner than Brenda was used to and she noticed that his tongue was more insistent then she used to with Eddie. Brenda pulled away after kissing for 15 20 seconds. There. I did it, she thought to herself the first kiss after the divorce. It was different from what she was used to, but it was nice anyhow. Before leaving, Justin asked Brenda to text her number to him, asking if she was free for dinner the Friday night after Thanksgiving. Brenda sent the text, and a date was set for Friday night. EDDIE: Thanksgiving without Brenda was a bit weird, and Eddie was glad to be far away from memories of past holidays. As soon as he walked into Mikes parents house, he was welcomed as family. Please dont call me Mrs. Miller, Eddie Stephanie is fine. And call Mikes dad Frank. No Mr. and Mrs. allowed here. Dinner, including a turkey and California wine was great. Luckily (or maybe it wasnt luck), Mikes mom sat Eddie next to her friends daughter Melissa. Melissa was tall and thin, with straight hips, big tits and long flowing red hair. Mel, as she called herself smelled of expensive perfume and looked fantastic in skinny jeans and an opened top. Mel worked part time in Mikes coffee house and was finishing her masters degree at UCLA. The two joined the conversation at dinner, discussing football, politics and movies with the others at the table. After the dishes were cleared, Steve, Mike and Eddie were standing on the deck of the Millers house enjoying some fresh air when Melissa approached. Soon after, the other guys seemed to disappear, leaving Eddie alone with Melissa. So, Mike tells me that youre recently divorced, Melissa started. Way to not beat around the bush, Eddie thought. Yes. Not the way I expected things to end. Brenda, my ex wife sorry, still getting used to that, is back in Michigan, I guess. No worries, Mel continued. "So, what brings you out here? "Just needed a change of pace, and Steve arranged for an interview for me at Honda Design. I work on GMs Future Projects Team, but want to see what else is out there for me. The two stood alone of the deck for about a half-hour discussing both of their pasts before it was time for the three men to leave. If youre free on Friday, Id love to spend some time with you. Not to be awkward, but I have no idea where to go around here and have no car, so its not much of a date, said Eddie. Although I do have money with me, he added, so he didnt look like a total loser. That would be great. I will pick you up at Mike and Steves tomorrow at 10:00, replied Melissa with a warm smile as they shook hands before leaving. On the way home from dinner that night, Steve said youve been in California for just one day and have a date with the hottest girl in town not bad!