Authors: Nicole Rickman
Tags: #UPDATED version
LOVE’S NOT EASY SERIES BOOK ONE
This is a work of fiction. All characters, places, and incidents are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons either living or dead is completely coincidental. This book also contains Bible Verses from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
PUBLISHED BY NICOLE RICKMAN COPYRIGHT 2014 NICOLE RICKMAN
Cover design by Fury Cover Design
Images from Deposit photo contributors Boule1301 & Giulio Fornasar
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Aimee stood in the lobby of the Ancaster Neahovia Airport holding to her carryon bag while searching for Mr. Myers. One look at the line for baggage claims and she was glad she had shipped most of her belongings to the home of the Andersons.
She called Mr. Myers from the airport in London and told him to meet her here at five p.m. She took her phone from her bag to turn off the airplane mode and noticed a text message from him.
Aimee, I am so sorry but I have an unscheduled meeting I have to go to. I have arranged for my driver, Mr. Malone, to pick you up at the airport. He will be waiting for you in the front lobby and will take you to Ancaster University. I also arranged for Mr. Andrews and his lovely wife, Tessa, to meet the two of you in front of Winchester Villa. I will call you tomorrow so we can get together to set up your accounts. Have a good evening dear.”
Aimee slipped her cell back into her bag and began her walk to the main entrance. After a few minutes, she found the front entrance and Mr. Malone. He was not too hard to spot. He stood close to seven feet tall, extremely muscular, and was holding a sign above his head. Due to his height, the sign was way higher than all the others. Aimee managed to turn and squeeze her way through the crowd while keeping an eye on the sign that read: WELCOME TO NEAHOVIA MISS AIMEE PITTMAN.
“Welcome to Neahovia, Miss Pittman. I am glad God blessed you with a safe arrival.” His grin proving he was no more than a big, old teddy bear.
Aimee grinned. He was a Christian as well. “Thank you Mr. Malone, it was indeed a safe trip. I thanked the Lord just minutes ago for being with the pilot and crew as we traveled.”
Mr. Malone held the back passenger door of the Lexus opened for Aimee. “Please call me Brock.”
Aimee slid in the backseat of the Lexus. “I will as long as you agree to call me Aimee. Miss Pittman makes me sound old.”
Brock laughed. “Agreed.”
The Lexus was very classy. The cream seats was made of fine leather and very soft. Aimee couldn’t help herself, she just had to look around the car. Then, she rolled down her window to have a clear view of the sights as they drove through the city.
Brock watched Aimee through his rear-view mirror. “As long as traffic is not bad, the commute to the university should take a little over ten minutes.”
Aimee took a deep breath and inhaled the salty ocean air.
“Aimee, are you ok?”
She smiled noticing that he was speaking to her. “I am fine. I was just taking in the view and the fresh air. The ocean here smells so different than in the States.”
Brock laughed. “I thought the same thing when I visited the States last year.”
The lady in blue couldn’t believe her eyes. Aimee had come to Neahovia after all. This was not good. Everything she has worked so hard to protect is now in jeopardy. All her carefully laid out plans are useless if Aimee finds out anything about her family roots in Neahovia. She needed a while longer to make sure everything goes as plan.
Ancaster University came into sight as soon as they turned onto Maple Avenue. Aimee gazed out her window as they drove by the old buildings that made up the university. They reminded her of old castles with lots of character and charm.
“What is your major Aimee?”
“Business Management and Marketing. I am also taking a few Neahovia History and Geography classes.”
Brock turned onto Oak Street. “That is an awesome major. I hear the History and Geography classes have a lot of off campus assignments that allows you to visit different parts of our great Neahovia.”
“I hope so. It would be great to see different parts of the country.”
Brock turned the car into the Winchester Villa drive and stopped at the security booth. Once he informed the guard of who he was, he opened the gate and directed the car to the guest parking area.
“Mr. Myers mentioned we are meeting Rev. Anderson and his wife here.” Brock looked back at Aimee.
“Yes they are old friends of my mother’s.”
Brock took the first parking spot he found. “Do you mind if I walk you to meet Mr. and Mrs. Anderson? I attend Wise Chapel Church, where Rev. Anderson is the pastor.”
Aimee opened her door. “I would be delighted if you walk with me. You know my friend, Piper, and I are going to attend services at Wise. We worked on a mission trip there a few years ago. It was during the beginning stages of the restoration. We are so excited to see the finished product in person.”
“That is wonderful. My wife and I are the head of the Wise Chapel Youth Outreach Program. We are always looking for recruits.” Brock walked beside Aimee.
“I will speak with Piper, I am sure we can help somehow.” Aimee spotted Tessa ahead waving.
The Reverend Mark Anderson was just as Aimee remembered him. His hair was more of a salt and pepper color, but otherwise, the same. He embraced her with a hug. “We are so glad you came to study at Neahovia. We have prayed for your return here for some time.”
Aimee returned the hug. “Thanks Rev...”
Reverend Anderson stood back. “Please call me Uncle Mark, like you always have.”
Aimee smiled. “Of course.”
Mark noticed Brock standing behind Aimee. He thanked him for escorting Aimee to the campus. Then, the two men walked off discussing some church business.
Tessa joined Aimee and greeted her with a hug. The two ladies looked at the view of the Winchester Villa. Each building was made of cedar wood with the front doors trimmed in stone. Aimee counted a total of seven two story buildings. A flower garden separated each apartment or flat, as they called them in Neahovia.
Aimee removed her cell to double check the text Piper had sent earlier that day. “I am in Flat 707.”
Aimee and Tessa walked toward the Flat. It was on the farthest end of the parking area and it just so happened to be the closest to the beach as well.
Mark jogged over to them. “Sorry about that. Brock says hi to Tessa and, to Aimee, he looks forward seeing you in church.”
Aimee turned around. “I wanted to say thanks, but I didn’t want to be rude and interrupt.”
Mark put his arm around her. “I thanked him for you. I see James over there at the end of the lot. Let’s go get you moved in.”
Aimee could see James from a distance. He was standing by an old red pickup truck.
“I am so sorry the Administration Building closed before you arrived today.” Tessa turned to Aimee.
“It’s ok. I told myself God had a reason for the unexpected layovers in Chicago, and then, again in London. I knew when my flight from Richmond took off on time, it was too good to be true.” Aimee said as she laughed.
Tessa looked at her. “You are so much like your mother, always looking on the bright side. Even so, between the layovers at Chicago, and again in London, plus factoring in the time difference, your flight turned into a 17 hour flight. You have to be tired.”
Aimee stopped just in front of James. “I am definitely ready for a hot shower and nap.”
James came over to give Aimee a hug. “I have to say, I have never seen you travel so lightly.”
Aimee faked laughed. “Just wait until you help me put my stuff in storage.”
James grinned. “Who said I would help?”
Aimee shook her head. James had always been like an older brother to her. He loved picking on her; but, he also was very protective. It was a hard adjustment for them both when he moved to Neahovia with his parents. Aimee had already lost the two most important people in her life and, to her, it felt like her whole family moved away. She pouted for days. Then, James began calling more frequently. They stayed in touch with each other over the past two years. Seeing him in person made her feel so happy. “My pretend big brother will do anything I ask.”
James laughed. “Yeah, my pretend sister always gets what she wants.”
Aimee felt so silly ringing the doorbell to her own flat; but, she was keyless until tomorrow; and, Piper had not answered the text Aimee sent letting her know she was here. She waited nervously for someone to answer the door.
A tall, light brown haired guy opened the door. “May I help you?” He asked with a thick accent.
“Yes, I am Aimee Pittman. Pipers friend.”
“Oh yes, the American. I am Colin. Welcome to our flat.” He stood to the side of the door, holding his left arm out.
The foyer appeared a little small, but held lots of potential. He began giving her a tour pointing toward the living area. He explained that the cable for the telly would be turned on tomorrow.
“Like she will watch any of our Neahovian shows.” A girl close to Aimee’s height with long, light blonde hair entered the foyer.
Colin turned toward her. “Don’t be rude, Lexi.” He said as he gave her an evil eye. He pointed to his left. “The kitchen is this way…”
“I got it from here, Colin.” A familiar voice came from the stairs.
The two girls squealed each other’s names as they jumped up and down in unison like little girls.
Aimee met Piper in a boarding school they attended when they were fifteen years old. They had shared a room and instantly became best friends. They both attended the school for only one year. They used social media to stay in touch over the past three years. The minute Aimee finally received her father’s permission to attend Ancaster University, she called to tell Piper. The instant they hung up, Piper phoned her mother and had arrange for Aimee to room with Piper and her Neahovian friends.
James cleared his throat as he nudged Aimee’s arm. “I am so sorry Piper, this is my friend, James. This is his parents, Tessa and Rev. Mark Anderson. Mark is the pastor of Wise Chapel.”
Piper stared at Aimee’s friend, James, a short second. “Rev. Anderson, I am looking forward to attending church services at Wise. I have heard so many wonderful things about the church.”
Mark shook her hand. “Thank you, Piper. We look forward to seeing you there. Please, just call me Mark.”
Aimee and Piper made small talk with Mark and Tessa while James and Colin carried Aimee’s belongings up the stairs. When they finished, Piper gave Aimee a tour of the downstairs portion of the flat before guiding her upstairs to the bedrooms. There were four rooms, two on each side of the hall. Piper directed Aimee to the last room on the left side of the hall. The room had two twin beds separated by a bay window with a view of the ocean. Two desks sat in front of it. Aimee could see herself sitting at her desk for hours at a time.
“Let me guess, you were the first to arrive?”
Piper grinned. “The early girl gets the view.”
Piper took a glance over at Aimee’s stuff. “Since when did you start traveling so light?”
Aimee walked over to her side of the room and removed a credit card from her purse and began fanning herself with the card. “We haven’t been shopping together in so long.”
Piper and Aimee went back to the living area, where Piper introduced her to some of her roommates. Lexi, the girl from earlier. She was sharing the room next to Aimee and Piper with Sophia, a petite girl with shoulder length, black hair.
Colin was rooming with Aiden (who has not arrived yet). Then, there was Josiah, who looked kind of scary with his black hair spiked all over. The tips of his hair was dyed green and he appeared to be wearing more eyeliner than all four girls put together. He was rooming alone because the guy he was to room with, decided to get an apartment off-campus so they could have a place for band practice.
Colin decided he wanted to check out a local pub. Lexi, Sophia, and Piper joined him. Josiah said he was hanging at Jorge’s place (the roommate who got an apartment). Aimee wanted to stay back. She was in need of a hot shower and some rest.
She took out her bag and unpacked her toiletries, bath towels, and some clothing. After a nice, hot shower, she put on her favorite aqua and pink plaid Capri pajama pants with a matching aqua tee. She wrapped her hair in a towel and got out her laptop. She found the site to her favorite Contemporary Christian music station as she began the task of unpacking.
A fast uplifting song about praising God was on the radio, so she sang along while folding and hanging her clothes. Lost in her own world enjoying the uplifting songs, Aimee was working at a great speed. Midway through singing along with one of her favorite songs, she heard someone clear their throat.
Startled, she jumped and turned toward the door. The hottest guy she had ever laid her eyes on was standing in her doorway with one hand on the frame. There was no question, he liked to work out. He was wearing a seersucker shirt, which clung tight to his body, leaving no reason for anyone to have to imagine the physique he had under the shirt. She looked up at his face and prayed her mouth was shut.
His sparkling, white teeth helped show off the best smile she had ever envisioned. His hair was light brown and styled in a fade cut with the soft spikes on the top. He had mesmerizing dark blue eyes and a five o’clock shadow that made him that more appealing. She was so caught up in the sight of him she forgot that her hair was wrapped in a towel.