Hello, !

Sorry for the delay! Episode Two of My Two Husbands is finally here!

Thank you all so much for your votes from episode one. You lovers are AWESOME!!! I wanted to share a little bit from behind the scenes, so check out this short video I made just for you and then enjoy episode two :) 

Episode Two

NOW

“Jake,” Marissa replies finally and my stomach tightens. Ever since that one visit Jake paid to my office two years ago when he finally had to admit his gambling debts because his car was being repossessed, I get a little anxious when he comes here. Not that he’s here very often.

That would be weird.  

I glance down at the unopened snickers bar on my desk, the one I picked up on the way back from the showing with the Delures. “Send him in.”

“Sure thing.”

“And Marissa.” My tone grows stern.

“Uh-huh?”

“Jake is my ex-husband.”

“Right. Sorry. I’ll send your ex-husband back.”

An annoyed sigh expels from my lungs and moments later, Jake walks in. I blink a few times as he shuts the door behind him.  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him in his slate gray suit. The bright white of his open collared shirt pops against his tan skin.

He approaches my desk. “How’s it goin’, Quinn.”

I stretch my lips back into a wide smile. “It’s going great!”

Jake’s eyes fall to my desk and he picks up my candy bar. “I guess you struck out again with the French couple, huh?” That’s the thing about ex-husbands—they can always call your bluff.

I snatch back the chocolate. “Yep.”

He nods, raising his brow as if to remind me that I should get rid of them, then takes a seat in one of my upholstered chairs.

“So, to what do I owe this pleasure?” Please don’t bring me any more bad news.

He grins in a way that I know something good is about to happen. “I landed the job.”

My eyes fly open. “You did? Really?” Oh, my God, he’s finally getting his life back together.  

“Yeah.” His finger taps a rhythm on the armrest. “I just wanted to tell someone.”

“Oh, you haven’t told Kyle yet?” I knit my brow slightly.

“No, I wanted to tell you first.”

“Oh.” I remember when Jake was the first person I wanted to tell everything to. But since our divorce, that’s changed. I didn’t realize that I’m still that person for him.

“Is that weird?” he asks.

Everything about our situation is weird. Why should this be any different? “No, I mean, we’re friends, right?”

His smile twists. “Yeah . . . we’re friends.”

“Well, congratulations,” I say. “When does the job start?”

“Two weeks. So by my calculations, I’ll be able to move out next month. Finally.”

Now I’m the one with the crooked smile. “Yeah . . . finally.” I clear my throat. “That’s really great. Why don’t you, me, and Kyle go to dinner tonight to celebrate?”

He nods, seeming slightly convinced. “Okay, that sounds good. I’ll pay. Can I pick the place?”

“Of course. It’s your party.”

***

That night the three of us walk into Red Fish Blue Fish, one of the best seafood restaurants in the city. It hasn’t changed much since the last time I was here many years ago. The bar top is still a colorful aquarium, circular mirrors hang on the walls over the private booths, and the table linens are crisp and clean. Why did Jake want to come here? I can’t imagine that he forgot about the last time we were all here together.

Kyle takes my hand and inhales a deep breath. “I can smell the lobster already.” I can’t smell a thing other than a mix of his cologne and Jake’s—the two distinct scents battling it out against the backdrop of seafood. The hostess walks us to our table and hands each of us a linen paper menu.

“What do you say we drink first?” Kyle suggests. Jake and I look at each other, then nod. “Great. So, how was your day, honey?”

I can still taste the caramel in my molars. “Not great. Still no deal with the Delures.”

Kyle reaches out and gently rubs my bare shoulder. “Don’t worry, Natalie. You’ll get ‘em next time.” That’s something I love about my husband. He’s always hopeful.

Our waiter comes to the table and introduces himself quickly before sharing the specials.

“We’d like to start off with a bottle of Dom Perignon,” Kyle tells him.

Jake’s hand immediately goes up. “Whoa, cowboy. Maybe we can drink a fifty dollar bottle instead.”

“Nah, don’t worry about it,” Kyle says in his playful southern accent, giving a dismissive wave. “My treat.”

Jake narrows his brows and I know he’s not satisfied with the compromise. “Okay.”

We sip from our water glasses quietly looking over the menu until our bubbly arrives. The waiter quickly pours three stemmed flutes.  

Jake raises his glass. “I just wanted to say that I really appreciate everything you guys have done for me over the past six months.

 “We’re here for you, buddy. To Jake Bruno and a fresh start.” Kyle tilts up his champagne. The three of us clink the crystal in a toast then sip slowly, our eyes bouncing between one another. Sometimes I like to Google, “My ex-husband still lives with my husband and me,” just to see if there is anyone in the world who’s ever been in my situation. If you guessed that I’m the only one, then my search history says you’re right.

My husband takes my hand and looks deep into my eyes like he’s trying to see the depths of my soul. “I don’t know if you remember, but this is where I took you on our very first date.” Kyle considers us to have had two first dates; one when we met eight years ago and the other much later when we started our real relationship. Anytime he talks about the former, he uses the word very.

“I remember.”

“I remember too,” Jake says, gripping onto the tablecloth.  

“Oh, that’s right.” Kyle chuckles. “I almost forgot you were there that night.”

Jake smirks. “How could you forget after the waitress went psycho on you?”  

“I don’t know what you mean. That was a minor confrontation,” Kyle says.

“No, it wasn’t. You left that restaurant with crab cakes all over your shirt. You were a mess.” 

“You guys are both wrong,” I intervene. “That’s not what happened.”

They both lean back in their chairs and narrow their eyes. “Okay, so what did happen?” Jake asks.  

I tense my shoulders. “It doesn’t really matter. It was a hundred years ago.” I let out a slight chuckle and sip from my glass. The truth is, I’d rather not go back to that night. It was the night that I made a choice that changed the rest of my twenties. Ever since Jake broke my heart, I’ve often wondered what would’ve happened if I had chosen differently.  

 

THEN

 

Kyle and I have made nothing but polite small talk on the way to the restaurant. I have no idea where we’re going. He says it’s a surprise. Pulling up to the swanky boathouse style restaurant is nothing short of a relief.

“Red Fish, Blue Fish,” I say, grinning. “I’ve been wanting to try this place.” The valet opens the door for me and Kyle tosses him the keys to his blue BMW 3 Series. What an upgrade. The last guy I went out with took me to a TGI Friday’s for onion rings and chicken fingers.

Don’t get me wrong, I like fried food as much as anyone. But not for a first date.

Kyle is a complete gentleman—courteous, attentive. He even takes my hand when we walk into the place. The bar is well lit by floating orb lights, illuminating the custom aquarium bar decorated with colorful coral rocks and tiny fish swimming beneath the glass surface. Rows of windows give the restaurant an almost 360 degree view of the ocean and a beautiful salmon glow fills the dining room.

“Reservation for Kyle Landon,” he tells the hostess.

She makes a mark in her paper book. “Right this way, Mr. Landon.”

The restaurant is occupied by men in silk ties and women with silky hair, or as silky as it can be in this humidity. We’re probably the youngest couple in the restaurant and I have to say that it makes me feel pretty damn good.

Right away, Kyle orders a nice bottle of pinot grigio, surely a nod to our first meeting last week.

“Have I told you how beautiful you look this evening?” His eyes glint from the table candlelight.

I blush. “You did but thank you again.”

“You’re welcome. I’m glad we were able to make this happen tonight.”

“Me too. I’m glad it’s just the two of us.” I think back to Jake and how his forehead glimmered with sweat that day at the job site. How he tried to ward me off of Commitment-Kyle. The nerve of that guy. By the look in Kyle’s eyes, he’s only interested in tonight. And so am I.

But, of course, I would like to have a boyfriend—if only to stop wasting my time with some of the chumps I wind up with. But I’m not interested in something too serious. Ideally, the guy will work as much as I do and have a knack for great sex.

I take a quick look at the single-sheet menu. I’m in the mood for scallops.

“Order anything you’d like,” he says. “But I highly recommend the crab cakes.”

I glance at the description. “Mmm, that sounds good.”

Kyle sets down his menu and gazes at me from across the white linen table. “So, Natalie, did you grow up here in West Palm?”

“Connecticut, actually.”

“Sounds nice.” He nods with interest. “What was that like?”

“Cold. You?”

 “I’m West Palm born and bred.” And by the sound of it, proud.

“What was that like?”

“Hot,” he says and we both spit out a laugh.

“Well, look who it is,” a deep voice intrudes in on our conversation. Kyle and I turn our heads up to find Jake, standing tall next to a leggy blonde with fiery red lipstick and a skirt that barely clears her panties.

What’s he doing here?

“Jake, hey man.” Kyle rises to his feet and shakes his annoying friend’s hand. “What brings you here?”

“I’m on a date. Just like you, I suppose.” Jake looks down at me. “How ya doin’, Quinn.”

I send him a tight-lipped smile. “Great.”

“This is Sonia. Sonia, this is my buddy Kyle and Natalie.” The three of us nod and smile in a friendly, yet awkward greeting.

“I gotta be honest, Kyle. I thought you were planning to take her to a nicer place than this.” Jake scans the restaurant as if it’s subpar.

My date chuckles. “What do you mean? This is a perfect first date spot.”

Jake winds his arm around his date’s slender waist and plants a kiss on her neck. “Yes, it is.” Sonia giggles. “Anyway, we’ll let you get back to your evening.”

“Thanks, see you later,” Kyle says as he holds his tie in place taking a seat. “What are the odds?”

That’s a good question. I watch as Jake and Sonia sit at a table in my eye line. He takes the menu from the waiter, then winks at me from across the way. Okay, I’m ninety-nine percent sure he did this on purpose.

I look to Kyle. “Did you tell your friend where you were taking me tonight? Kinda funny that he showed up, don’t you think?”

“Nah, he’s always dating someone new. I didn’t know he brought his dates here though. He’s more of a TGI Fridays kinda guy.”

I glance over at Jake as he runs his finger softly against Sonia’s cheek. “Yeah, I can see that.” She kisses his finger and nearly takes it into her mouth. I lean in and whisper, “Do you think Sonia’s a hooker?”

“If she is, he’s not paying her.”

“Why do you say that?” I ask.

Kyle shrugs. “Jake doesn’t believe in paying for sex and neither do I.”

“Does that mean if we have sex tonight that I should pay for my own dinner?”

He roughly swallows his sip of water, a look of intrigued horror in his eyes.

“I’m just kidding,” I say and he laughs. “Or am I?” I send him a wink and return my attention back to the menu. What is it about teasing men that’s so fun?

After a few moments of playful silence, our waiter comes back to take our orders. I decide that the crab cakes sound pretty good.

“Why did Jake call you Quinn?” Kyle asks.

I feel my cheeks flush. “I dunno. It is my last name.” Is it wrong that I don’t want to tell him about our accidental run in earlier today as to avoid telling him what a jerk his friend is?

“Huh,” Kyle utters. “So where were we? Oh, right. Connecticut. That seems like a good place to raise a family. Are your parents still there?”

Raise a family? My parents? This is not a good sign. “I’m sure it is. And yes, they are.”

“You ever think about going back?”

I shake my head. “Never. I’m not interested in things like raising a family.”

“Really?” He sounds surprised.

“Half of my friends back home are married and saddled with kids already. That’s not the kind of life I want.” He needs to know that about me now. “What about you?”

“I’d like to get married and have a family. But not anytime soon.”

I smile. “Good.”

In the course of fifteen minutes, he learns that I love to swim and I learn that he loves to take out his father’s boat. He rattles off his dream boat specs while my gaze wanders over to Jake’s table. Sonia’s stiletto is knocked over on the ground as her toe runs up his pant leg. Jake’s brown eyes shift my way for a moment like he knows I’m watching. I bet he’s thinking his date is going much better than ours.

I’ll show him.

I slip one of my pumps off my feet and find the cottony fabric of Kyle’s sock with my toe. “So Kyle, you ever take a woman out on this boat . . . alone?” My foot slides up his calf and his little curly leg hairs stand on edge.

Kyle smirks. “No, would you like to be the first?”

“Absolutely.” I swear, successfully propositioning a man for sex is like shooting fish in a barrel. He rubs his hand up my leg for a moment, and I’m so thankful that I had time to shave.

I glance back at Jake who’s now sitting next to Sonia instead of across from her, nibbling her neck like she’s wearing a candy necklace. His devilish eyes roll up to meet mine. I clench my jaw and scoot my chair next to Kyle.

He looks pleased. “Whatcha doin’?”

I lean in. “Nothing. I just thought we could get to know each other better this way.”

“I think you’re right.” Kyle gazes into my eyes the same way he did at the bar last week—good guy with a hint of trouble.

Meanwhile, the real troublemaker’s eyes are burning into my skin. My eyes subtly wander his way. Jake stares at me with his hand glued to Sonia’s ass. Ugh, Kyle and I are going to have way better sex tonight than them.

I purse my lips at Jake and then stroke Kyle’s hair. My oblivious date locks eyes with my and I pull him in, laying a very deep and sexy kiss on his lips. Mmm, to my pleasant surprise, Kyle’s a very good kisser.

Moments later, our lips unlock. “What was that for?” he asks.

To show up your friend and let you know I’m serious about boat sex. “Sorry, it’s just ever since we met I’ve wanted to kiss you.”

He tucks a piece of hair behind my ear. “I’ve wanted to kiss you too.” Pulling me close, Kyle tickles my lips then dives in, kissing me even better than before. Now I know that dessert is going to be delicious. As we break apart, I wipe the edges of my mouth, cleaning any smudged lipstick.

Kyle clears his throat and adjusts himself beneath the table. Then, just as I think I’ve got him pegged he looks up and coos. “Aw, look at the little baby.”

Huh? I turn around and find a nice couple in their thirties. The woman is dressed in a pretty blue dress carrying an infant wearing a white and navy boating outfit. “Cute.”

I glance over at Jake and he smirks at me as if saying, “I told you so.” Can he hear our conversation? I can’t hear his. Not that those two have done a lot of talking since they got here.

I absolutely freaking hate to admit this but . . . Jake was right. Kyle might be faking it for me but he is one hundred percent the commitment type. But I like him. Maybe he’ll change for me.

I know, I know . . . because they always do, right?

“Kyle?” another voice calls next to our table. This time it’s much more high pitched. I look up and find a pretty brunette waitress standing over us.

Kyle’s eyes practically bulge out of their sockets. “Christine? What are you doing here?”

“What does it look like? I work here now.” The waitress, presumably Christine, scowls at me. “Are you . . . are you on a date?”

“Yeah, um . . . this is Natalie.”

I don’t know who this woman is but she better not be his girlfriend. That is not okay with me.

“I can’t believe you’re dating already! We’ve only been broken up for two weeks.” Hmm, maybe Jake was wrong and Kyle is the love ‘em and leave ‘em type.

There’s a distinct shift in the room. Everyone is looking at our table. I’m just glad she’s his ex. Ex’s really are a pain in the ass.

And speaking of pains in the ass, Jake approaches the table. “Hey Christine, how’re you doin’?”

Christine folds her arms and gives Jake a dirty look. “Ugh, of course you’re here. If you and Kyle love each other so freaking much maybe you two should be on a date.”

I glance over at Sonia as she watches the scene. She catches my stare and gestures as if to know what the deal is. I shrug. And for the first time since she showed up, I feel a sense of solidarity with her.

Jake snickers. “Christine, c’mon. Don’t make a scene. Everyone’s just trying to have a good time.”

“Oh, sure. It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.” Christine jabs a finger into Jake’s chest. “Don’t think I don’t know that Kyle broke up with me because of you.”

“Excuse me?” Jake says, holding his hands up.

“Look, Christine, it’s complicated,” Kyle says, rising to his feet.

“It’s not complicated, it’s bullshit just like you.” She grabs Kyle’s wine glass from the table and tosses it in the guys’ direction.

Splash!

With an exaggerated huff, Christine stomps off, leaving Kyle and Jake with chilled pinot grigio dripping down their frowning faces.

Okay, that’s it. I officially want nothing to do with these two. Clearly, they’re trouble. Kyle takes his napkin and wipes his face clean then hands it over to his friend.

Jake takes it. “What is she talking about you broke up with her because of me?”

“I have no idea,” Kyle says. “I broke up with her because she’s crazy.” I raise my brow at him. “I mean, dramatic.” Slightly better, but I can’t blame him for the blanket description after that scene. “Natalie, I’m so sorry about this.”

“It’s okay, but maybe we should go.”

“Yeah, good idea.” Kyle throws a couple of twenties on the table and I grab my purse. We say a quick goodbye to Jake and hurry out of the restaurant, keeping an eye out for Miss Drama.

“You want me to take you somewhere else?” he asks.

“No, I think I’ve had enough excitement for tonight.”

“Oh no, really?” Kyle takes my hand. “I was really enjoying our time together.”

I sigh. “I was too, but I have to take a hint from the universe. I don’t think it wants us to be alone together.”

“C’mon, that’s just a coincidence.”

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Amanda Aksel

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