Keeping Secrets

By: Kristol Locks

Taking Chances, Book 1

Chapter 1

I was jogging alongside the lake when I noticed Professor Andrews. He tossed a stick and a chocolate lab brought it back to him.

He turned around as I called out, “I guess that’s your dog. . .” I was now a few feet from him and lost in his hazel eyes as I tried to compose myself.

“Charlotte, how are you? This is Professor Smith’s dog. Her name is Samantha. I am dog sitting today.”

I kneeled down and petted Samantha. Then I looked back up at him. “I can’t believe November is only two-days away. This year is going by fast!”

“Before you know it, the semester will be over. I hope you are still enjoying, what is left of, my class.”

I stood up. “I am. Everyone loves your class, but I bet you know that. And I am sure it does not hurt that you are one of the most attractive professors on campus.”

Professor Andrews laughed. “Attractive? The last time I checked, no one signed up for my class because of my looks. I don’t want to sound cliché. However, I do love what I do, and I think that it shows. When you are doing what you love, it always looks good on you.”

“Oh, that must be the secret.” I took the stick out of Samantha’s mouth and tossed it into the air. “Do you mind if I walk with you? I mean-I don’t want to intrude.”

He smiled at me. “I guess that would be okay. We happen to be walking in the same direction. And I don’t know of any rules against it.”

“I am actually surprised to see you here. I drive out to this lake a couple times a week. I usually come in the morning. It helps me to think. Anyway, the people that live in these homes are lucky to wake up to this view every morning.” I turned to him. “How often do you come to the lake?”

“I visit Professor Smith from-to-time. Other than that, I don’t get out here much. I love it though. My wife and I once thought about buying a home here, but it never happened. Instead, Professor Smith bought the home we were debating about. Now-I get to visit it.” He laughed. “I guess it was just not meant to be. We bought a colonial close to the university. It’s a nice home. . .”

“Can I ask you something, Professor?”

“I don’t see why not. What’s on your mind today, Charlotte?”

“I have been doing a lot of thinking about life lately, and I would like your insight. . . Have you ever wanted someone? I mean wanted someone that you could not have . . . so you let her go.”

“That’s an odd question, but I will play along. Let me see . . . have I ever wanted someone that I could not have?” Professor Andrews looked at the lake and then at Samantha who was running toward us. “No. I wanted a young lady I met in college, and she wanted me, too. Needless to say, I married her. We’ve been married for sixteen years. She is the love of my life.”

I felt my heart race as I asked my next question. “Are you saying that no one has ever come into your life, at any point, and tempted you?”

“We all feel tempted from time-to-time. I think it is part of what makes us human. However-I would never act on it. In life, we must have a moral compass that keeps us on the right track. Adding pain to our lives, by acting on temptations, is not going to feel good in the end. In fact, it has destroyed many politicians and . . .”

“I understand what you are saying, but I think you are looking at things in the wrong light.”

Professor Andrews laughed. “What other light is there, Charlotte?”

We stopped, and I took the stick out of Samantha’s mouth and tossed it as far away as I could. “Everything comes down to secrets. If people could keep secrets, no one would get hurt.”

He shook his head. “You are too young to realize how wrong you are.”

We started walking again. “People that can’t keep secrets hurt other people when they cheat.”

“Charlotte, my point stands. People do get hurt. It does not matter who knows what. Has anyone ever cheated on you, Charlotte?”

“No. I have had three-relationships. I left when things just did not feel right any longer. I don’t try to fix broken things. . . We are back to human-nature now. My point is that most people cheat or walk away from a marriage. Either way, they move on to the next person. The danger happens when secrets are not kept.”

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