The Rebel

By: Victoria Purman


Maggie had wistfully realised something that day: she’d once been a plane ride from everywhere too. Back in her other life.

‘Mommy!’ Evan called.

With a smile, she knew exactly where she would find her son: in the room Cooper had converted into a guest room especially for him. Twelve months before, Maggie’s mom had been on holiday in Mexico with her two best girlfriends and Maggie and Evan had met Cooper at the pier for a walk. They’d strolled along, enjoying the sun and the ocean breezes, chatting about nothing in particular. Cooper had just got back from some competition or other and he’d bought Evan an ice-cream cone. Maggie still remembered that more chocolate had ended up on her son’s chin than in his mouth. When he’d finished crunching on it, he’d run ahead to check if the anglers dangling their rods over the rail had had any luck.

‘Oh, I forgot to tell you something,’ Maggie had said, aiming for nonchalance.

‘Tell me what?’

‘Hey, Malone. Cheers, dude.’

Maggie had looked up and two young surfers, who’d been walking back from the end of the pier, had lifted their chins in respect to Cooper.

‘G’day guys,’ he’d replied with a wave.

He’d turned back to Maggie. ‘Sorry about that. What were you saying? You were gonna tell me something?’

She’d taken a deep breath and looked out to the ocean. ‘I’ve got a date next Saturday.’

Cooper had stopped walking.

She’d taken a few further steps and, when she realised he hadn’t kept up, she’d turned back to him.

‘You do?’ he’d asked her. And then it seemed that he’d remembered how to walk again and with a couple of loping steps, he was alongside her.

‘Yeah. A date. A real life, fully fledged date. With a man.’ She remembered how nervous she’d been about the whole deal.

‘And who is this man?’ Cooper had shoved his hands into the pockets of his long shorts as they strolled.

‘One of my clients. I’ve been doing his accounts for a year now and we finally met the other day. For some reason, he decided to come around to drop off his paperwork instead of emailing it like he normally does.’

‘Interesting. And he asked you on a date?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Well, good for you. When are seeing this guy?’

‘It was supposed to be next Saturday but Mom will still be on vacation so we’ve pushed it back a little.’

‘Whoa,’ Cooper had held his hands in the air, palms up. ‘So what am I, chopped liver?’

‘Huh?’

‘Leave Evan with me next Saturday night.’

‘No, Cooper, I couldn’t.’

‘What are you talking about? You can trust me, Maggie. Evan will be fine with me. And I’ve got nothing on next weekend.’

Maggie had looked at him over the top of her sunglasses. ‘You? Not planning a hook-up for next Saturday night? You’re losing your touch, surfer boy.’

‘I’m just getting choosier.’

‘Do tell.’ Maggie had nudged him in the side.

‘I’m perfectly happy to have a hot date next Saturday night with Evan. Us blokes. Pizza and Jurassic Park.’

‘Oh now, way too scary for a four year old,’ she’d said. ‘How about Toy Story?’

‘Seen it. Last time I was back and you were doing that yoga class.’

Maggie knew that Cooper was the next safest pair of hands after her mom. He’d proved it in a hundred ways since they’d been friends. But what about Evan? Would he want to be away from his mommy for a whole night?

Cooper had stopped walking and taken her arm. ‘He can stay with me, Maggie.’ He’ll be no trouble. And you deserve a hot date.’ He’d looked from side to side to make sure no-one else was in earshot. ‘Think you’re gonna get laid?’

She’d huffed and slapped him on the arm. ‘Mind in the gutter, Malone.’

He’d leaned in. ‘C’mon, Maggie Mac. I know it’s been a l-o-n-g time since you’ve had sex.’

She’d planted her fists on her hips. ‘You marking this off on a calendar or something?’

Cooper had laid a hand on her shoulder. ‘You gotta start saying yes for a change. You can be a good mom—a great mom—and still want to have sex. And, last time I looked? You were still a woman.’

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