Maddie McComber: The one rule I lived by since I started tending bar at the new pub was a rule I devised to protect myself from jerks who liked to hit on me, as if serving them drinks with a smile made me the easiest target for their pleasure. My rule was firm: I did not, under any circumstances, sleep with the regulars. The last thing I needed was a man derailing my career trajectory in law, especially since I had one year to go until graduation day from Harvard. I worked my you know what off, and the rule served me well to start, until fate put someone in my path who attracted me like a magnet. It figured that it was only a matter of time until this happened, when a man charmed me and possessed a magnetic field that was unavoidable.
Daniel Jones: I didn’t do relationships thanks to plenty of experience I had with the painful side of love. The way my dad cheated on Ma. The way my ex cheated on me. All reminders of why I couldn’t pursue the gorgeous woman behind the bar. Maybe I was a good catch on paper, but my heart sheltered in place and life was simpler that way. Besides, a woman like Maddie deserved better than me. She deserved the romantic labels of relationship and girlfriend, and a guy who would bend the earth in half for her just so she could walk across it. I knew I didn’t have that in me. Did I? But when trouble struck at the pub and Maddie needed someone, I was there for her. I couldn’t ignore how she looked at me like I was her savior—and how much I lived for that. It complicated things.
On second thought, maybe the word complicated was the perfect label for whatever this was between us.