The drive home from work was a peaceful one. Aja didn’t have to fight the usual rush hour traffic, he worked over today. Up at 4 am and back home by 7 pm. But that was the nature of his work, and his advertising firm was doing quite well. He lived in Santa Monica in a large estate off of the beach. In fact that was how he met Valentina, he saw her jogging along the beach past his property. Something about her compelled him to run down the beach after her. He had seen countless beauties but it was something beyond her mortal shell that called to him, he swore to this.  He would joke to Valentina and tell her that she used magic to possess him to fall in love with her. For him it was love at first sight. Something that he never belived in yet he fell victim.

He drove with the convertible top down, the night was truly something, the air carried romance on it, the stars sang songs of love, and the moon smiled down blessing his union with Valentina. Or so it felt tonight. Touching the blue tooth in his ear he auto dialed Valentina. She picked up on the other end.

“Hello stranger, been like 28 hours since the last time I talked to you. Are you horny or something?” Valentina laughed there was lightheartedness in her voice letting Aja know that she wasn’t serious.

“Yea sorry about that luv, got hit hard at work.”

“I did too, that was why I joked about it. You know I’m not the kind of lady who requires all of your time.”

Aja smiled silently, what Valentina just said was why he loved her so much. She wasn’t the insecure type. She never called him every waking hour to ask where he was, or what he was doing. Her confidence shined like a sun that went super nova.

“Yea I know, but you are truly a lady who deserves all of my time.” Aja said. A large truck cut in front of Aja’s sports car as he was trying to change lanes. Aja cut back on the wheel slightly swerving to the left as the truck continued on not either knowing or caring. “Bloody hell!” Aja said.

“What is it?” Valentina said, there was concern in her voice.

“A lorry cut me off as they changed lanes! Bloody fool!” Aja explained fiercly. 

“Wait, a woman named Lori cut you off? So you know who she is?” Valentina asked.

“No..” Aja said flustered thinking of the best way to explain. “Lorry as in a truck, not Lori as in the name.”

Valentina laughed heartily. “I know, I just wanted to hear you squirm as you tried explaining. Your British accent is adorable.”

“But I’m not British, I am Bengali. I just went to a school where my teachers learned English from the British. So I tend to speak in mannerisms like Brits.”

Valentina could tell that somehow her comment offended Aja, she decided to move on from it, however foolishly she felt he reacted.

“So are you coming by tonight? I can make sure I have food ready.” She said.

“Eh.. Rain check on the food. Don’t like eating late. But…” He sounded devilish. “I could sure come by and spend the night with an enchanting lady.” 

“How charming. So charming that it makes me wonder if you’re trying to charm me out of my pants. Oh wait, I don’t have anything on so that’s half the battle right?” 

“Right…” He said aroused. 

“What time should I expect you?” 

Aja looked at the clock on his dash. 

“Uh give me at least three hours, have to check on my brother and freshen up. That ok?” 

“You better make up for lost time when you get here.” Valentina said invitingly. 

“Will be a long night that will make us both smile in the morning when we are reminded why we are so tired at work.” 

“I just recorded that, now the contract is binding. I will sue if you fail to honor it.”

“I won’t disappoint, that’s a promise luv.” Aja smiled wickedly, a smile that would truly heat up Valentina if she saw it. 

“Ok see you in a bit, love you.” Valentina hung up. Aja had to quickly cut over to the exit ramp almost missing his exit. His mind was distracted with visions of Valentina and their conversation. He truly loved that woman but there were times he felt she kept herself at a safe distance, or maybe it was him. After all he did have things in his life that she did not know of, and those situations could possibly not gain her approval. 

His smile left his face as he thought about all of the things he kept from Valentina. If he loved her as he thought he did there would be no secrets. But what if he told her? He was exaggerating with how many secrets when really it was only three. But one lie was one too many. He gripped the steering wheel and grit his teeth feeling ashamed and frustrated over it all. He was too afraid to tell her truths for fear of losing her. But he couldn’t hide them forever. The fact that he was keeping things from her was bothering him. Sometimes he wondered if he was deserving of Valentina’s love at all.